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Marino, Olivia Evans earn All-State honors
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
While they didn’t accomplish their ultimate goals of winning a State medal, Cocalico’s Olivia Evans and Sam Marino did walk away with a great consolation prize at the State AAA Swim Meet held this past weekend at Bucknell University.
Evans, a senior, finished 11th overall in the 100 yard backstroke with a finals time of 57.27 Saturday evening. Marino, a sophomore, was right behind her teammate, claiming 13th place in the finals with a time of 57.28. And because both of their finals times were lower than the eighth-place preliminaries time of 57.53 posted by Meghan Schilken of Mt. Lebanon, Evans and Marino both earned All-State honors.
"That’s a really cool achievement," Cocalico Coach Matt Woods said. "They both swam really well, they swam better than what they did this morning. I believes (the times) are both personal bests for both of them. So if you swim a personal best, you have to be happy with it. So they were both very pleased. And that’s all you can do."
Both swimmers began the State Meet Friday with Evans competing in the 100 butterfly while Marino was entered in the 200 freestyle. Neither swimmer made it out of the preliminaries, however.
Evans came in with a seeding time of 58.26, and actually beat that with a swim of 58.19. However, that was only good enough for 19th place overall, but she was still pleased with her swim.
"I was happy with my time," Evans said. "It’s a (personal) best, so once again, I can’t complain with that. I didn’t expect to be seeded that high, so I was happy with it."
Marino, on the other hand, was displeased with her performance in the 200 free. After taking third at District two weeks ago and earning the 10th seed, Marino struggled throughout and finished three seconds off her District time to place 25th overall in a time of 1:55.57.
"I was not happy with that at all," she said Saturday, looking back on Friday’s performance. "I don’t really know (what happened). I kinda just fell apart. After my 75, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is not going to be good.’"
Saturday was a new day for both girls, and a chance for both to deliver and close out the season successfully.
Marino, who was seeded 15th, went out strong and posted a time of 57.69 to finish 11th and earn a spot in the B Final. Evans, who came in seeded 16th, also turned in a big effort to finish in 57.86 and claim 13th with a time of 57.86 to also make the B Finals.
Both swimmers were asked their strategy heading into the finals.
"My mentality is to think of it as four 25s and each 25 is a separate race, so that way you’re sprinting every single part," Evans said.
Marino said she concentrates on getting good turns.
"I tackle my walls, I kick as far as I can off every wall and just hope that that gets me far enough in front of everyone to keep in front," she said."
Marino went out fast and posted a 27.76 after 50 meters, ahead of Evans’ 27.89 first 50.
"I just got out as fast as I can and hope that I can bring it back with whatever I have left," Marino explained.
But Evans closed fast and touched the wall just ahead of Marino, and Alyssa Santangelo of Souderton, who finished between the two Cocalico swimmers.
Evans, who will swim at Towson University next year, was asked about her thoughts on the race.
"It’s my senior year, so I really wanted to medal," she said. "I think I finished the exact same place as last year, but I got a best time, so I can’t complain."
Woods said despite Evans not collecting a State medal, she did so many other things during her career for the Cocalico team.
"We haven’t had a (State) medal for awhile," he said. "It would have been great to see her get one, but she’s done so much for the team through dual meets, she’s been to this meet four times, she’s won the League, she’s placed in Districts. It would have been great to see her place here. (But) she has many more races to swim in college and she will definitely be missed next year, that’s for sure."
Evans did say she has mixed emotions on closing out her high school career.
"It’s bittersweet to be done," she said. "It’s been stressful at some points. The end of the season meets are definitely fun and I’m just happy I could finish fast and with a best time."
Marino was also pleased with her effort in the 100 back, closing her sophomore year on such a strong note.
"I’m extremely happy," she said. "My goal was to make a final and get a better time and that’s exactly what I did, so I’m happy with that."
Woods said Marino showed him a lot, coming back from the disappointment of Friday’s race.
"She’s a pretty happy-go-lucky resilient kid," he said. "Most of the girls on the team, if anyone can come back from a disappointing performance, it would definitely be her because I think she just has the type of personality where she can clear her mind, regain that positive attitude quickly, and attitude is so important here. If you have a negative attitude, there’s too many fast kids here (and) you’re not going to be able to swim well, you’re not going to be able to compete, so she was able to clear her mind, get loose. She got in and warmed up (Friday) night during that meet and just cleared her mind and she swam a great race this morning and did really well. So I was happy that she could come off that kinda-negative type performance where she was disappointed with herself and end the State Meet on a positive note."
The third member of the Cocalico trio to compete at States was sophomore Sidney Evans, Olivia’s younger sister. Making her debut at States, Sidney Evans unfortunately did not advance to the finals in either of her two events.
Friday in the girls 200 I.M. preliminaries, she finished 23rd in the prelims with a time of 2:10.99. And Saturday, she was 29th overall in the 500 free, touching the wall in 5:14.01.
Bruce Morgan contributed to this story. More STATE SWIMMING, page B-3